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Sony XDCAM EX Pro Handhelds
Sony PMW-300, PXW-X200, PXW-X180 (back to EX3 & EX1) recording to SxS flash memory.


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Old January 10th, 2009, 11:06 AM   #1
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Feedback/Opinions From Current EX3 Users

Hi everyone, sorry for the very loaded question, but I've always gotten good advice and input from the users on here so I knew this would be the place to ask.

I am in the market for a new camera next month. For the past 2 years I have owned and operated a Canon XHA1 which has been a great camera for me, but I'm tired of HDV, and very tired of tapes. I am ready and anxiously awaiting to make the jump into a tapeless workflow. Over the past 3 years the companies I have been working with have relied on a completely tapeless workflow using P2. I am very versed and knowledgeable with P2, but after looking into the various alternatives it seems like XDCAM might be right for me. Although I have never used XDCAM media with FCP I'm sure it will be just as easy to use as P2 media.

The camera I use most and am most comfortable with is the HVX200/HPX170. I also have quite a bit of experience with the HPX500, which would be ideal for me right now, but is just a bit too far out of budget for me by the time I buy the camera, lens, tripod, battery system, and case. I'm trying to justify the extra cost of the EX3 vs. purchasing 2 HPX170s for just a little bit more. I understand the EX3 has a 1/2" chip and produces a better quality image, but I need to know is it worth the extra money and what else is needed?

The EX3 is labeled as a semi-shoulder camera, does that mean it will require a significantly greater tripod support system like real ENG form shoulder cameras such as the HPX500? I'm currently using a Manfrotto/Bogen 351MVB2K Tripod System setup with a 503 HDV head. I know my tripod can support the camera, but would an upgrade to the head be recommended? Or a whole new system?

With P2 cards you can dump to a computer in the field on a MacBook Pro very easily. How easy is dumping XDCAM media in the field? How does this process work? I don't want to have to stop production, plug in my camera via firewire and transfer. I'd like to hot swap and keep rolling if possible. Is the amount of footage you can record on a 16G XDCAM card similar to a 16G P2?

I saw an overview tutorial feature on the EX3 involving using alternative lenses which is a high point for me with this camera. However on that video the guy was using a Letus adapter. That kind of doesn't make sense to me because this camera has removable lenses. Is there like an adapter ring that would allow you to use 35mm lenses directly without needing a Letus/Brevis/M2?

How is the warranty and support for the EX3? The best selling point on the HPX170 is the 5 year warranty. That is insane. Granted technology will have changed with leaps and bounds at that point and I'm sure I would have a new one by then anyways, but 5 years just sounds so good. I'm assuming that the EX3 being a solid state camera as well leaves you with little to worry about.

I think that's it for now, but I'm sure there will be more questions soon! Thanks!
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Old January 10th, 2009, 11:36 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Kellen Dengler View Post
I'm trying to justify the extra cost of the EX3 vs. purchasing 2 HPX170s for just a little bit more. I understand the EX3 has a 1/2" chip and produces a better quality image, but I need to know is it worth the extra money and what else is needed?
You need to also factor in the cost of memory to get a "working package" in each case. In that case (because of the cost of P2) you most certainly won't get two HPX170 "working packages" for the cost of a single EX3 equivalent!

That's especially true now the EX3 can be used with cheap SDHC cards via an adaptor. The cost of the EX3 "working package" then becomes only little more than the basic cost of the camera. It depends how many P2 cards you think you can live with, but it wouldn't be difficult for the cost of necessary media to double the cost of the HPX170 package - make it as much as the EX3.
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With P2 cards you can dump to a computer in the field on a MacBook Pro very easily. How easy is dumping XDCAM media in the field? How does this process work??
It should be even easier (and faster) than with P2, as the SxS cards slot directly into the ExpressCards slots on MacBooks - P2 needs an adaptor. Not only should that give a much faster data throughput, but the smaller file sizes also help to give far faster downloading than with P2.

In practice the vastly lower cost of SDHC means that there just isn't any need to field download. I don't like the idea of field downloading - too many possible distractions, and the possibility of user error, to say nothing of the risks of the MacBook being lost stolen or damaged.
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Is the amount of footage you can record on a 16G XDCAM card similar to a 16G P2?
No, it's about 3x more. XDCAM-HD has a data rate of 35Mbs instead of 100Mbs.
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Old January 10th, 2009, 11:36 AM   #3
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Kellen,

Well I can't answer all your questions but I have recently updated my page on my own website with my opinions of the EX3 - which are mostly favourable. I'll put a direct link in here in a second.

Workflow in the field (downloading from SxS/KxS/KxT etc. to a MBP etc.) is really fast and easy so don't be concerned there.

Your tripod should be fine for now, but well worth considering a trade up soon I feel. Also, see comments by me and others on here about the naff tripod fixing on the EX3 and the recently released support from Ted et al.

Silver Support in Europe is generally excellent (2 years included, you can then buy a third year). Not sure what support is like in USA though. I guess from what I've read pretty good but you have to pay for it - whereas we get it free (oh we pay for it! - just it's up front with our higher prices).

http://www.shootingimage.co.uk/Sony%...EX3Review.html
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Last edited by Andy Wilkinson; January 10th, 2009 at 11:47 AM. Reason: adding EX3 review on shootingimage website
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Old January 10th, 2009, 12:06 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kellen Dengler View Post
I'm trying to justify the extra cost of the EX3 vs. purchasing 2 HPX170s for just a little bit more. I understand the EX3 has a 1/2" chip and produces a better quality image, but I need to know is it worth the extra money and what else is needed?
You have kind of answered your own question. Do you want the best quality images you can afford you do you want 2 lower quality cameras?

In terms of picture quality the EX cameras are up there with cameras costing 4 or 5 times as much. The workflow is simple and fast and you have a couple of media options, both of which work out a fair bit cheaper than P2. SxS is rugged, guaranteed to work at any frame rate while SDHC cards have frame rate limitations but are even cheaper.
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Old January 10th, 2009, 01:00 PM   #5
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Thank you guys. This really opened my eyes a bit. I did not realize that you could use other cheaper brands of SxS cards. With the Panasonic cams you can ONLY use P2 cards and as I know and you have also pointed out they are not cheap. It completley makes sense to just purchase more lower cost SxS cards and not dump footage in the field unless necessary which is an ideal situation for me anyways.

Back to warranties and support/service for the EX3. Are most people just buying the extended 3 year warranty option from Sony?

Sony Product Detail Page - SPSCAM10RSEW3
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Old January 10th, 2009, 02:55 PM   #6
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Also, can someone point me a link to the adapter that works with cost effective SDHC cards?
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Old January 10th, 2009, 03:07 PM   #7
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Also, can someone point me a link to the adapter that works with cost effective SDHC cards?
That's pretty easily done! Best place to start is a sticky at the top of this very forum: http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/sony-xdca...sxs-cards.html

There are two adaptors which seem to have proved reliable, the Kensington (which doesn't allow the EX1 door to close) and this one: http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/sony-xdca...-shipping.html

Only issue seems to be that SDHC + adaptor doesn't allow overcranking beyond a certain speed. Most people only seem to use overcrank rarely if at all, and if they do need the flexibility keep one SxS card for that. (You can then transfer such clips to an SDHC card within the camera.)
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Old January 10th, 2009, 03:20 PM   #8
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Thanks David. I'm an idiot I saw that sticky right after I posted haha. The more I'm reading into this the happier I am becoming realizing the cost effectiveness of using these cards vs P2 :)
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Old January 10th, 2009, 05:50 PM   #9
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Firmware Upgrades Not Covered By Sony

Sony expects the end user to pay for their manufacturing flaws. Unlike the rest of the industry, one way or another the end user must pay for firmware upgrades (i.e. in the form of Extra Warranty, shipping and/or an install fees). Their current policy is that only Sony must do firmware upgrades (i.e. EX3 - Manual Focus Issue at present).

So be prepared to shell out for the said upgrades???
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Old January 11th, 2009, 03:56 AM   #10
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Lets face it if you purchased a car and then later purchased a trailer you wouldn't expect the garage to fit the draw bar for free. But if your car had an intermittent starting problem that cropped up within the warranty period you would expect that to be sorted FOC.

If it's a bug fix the Firmware upgrades are normally free. If your getting the firmware to add options or enhancements the Firmware is charged for. Seems fair to me.
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Old January 11th, 2009, 08:09 AM   #11
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A Case In Point

As reported by engadget last week: Canon EOS 5D Mark II firmware update cures 'black dot' ailment.

Those equipped with the Canon EOS 5D Mark II might've noticed a few continuity errors between their shots and real life, such as light from a building window missing its right side. The company has released firmware update 1.0.7 to eradicate this "black dot" phenomenon -- which can affect any point light source -- as well as fix a problem with vertical banding noise that appears when recording in sRAW1 format. Hit up the read link for patch instructions.

Five(5) totally free upgrades from Apple on their Final Cut Pro Studio 2.0 to FCP 6.0.5. on MacPro 3.2 Octo.

Last edited by Barry J. Anwender; January 11th, 2009 at 04:57 PM.
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Old January 11th, 2009, 04:18 PM   #12
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It's a bug fix sorting out several problems that affect picture quality, so I would expect it to be free,.

Early EX1 owners can get the battery drain issue fixed for free, or if your camera has a back focus issue they will fix that for free.

Show me an EX owner with a fault that Sony have charged to fix, not an upgrade but a fault.

Sure, I'de love to get my camera continually updated for free, but why should Sony give away further software development. If you upgrade you editing software you normally have to pay for that.
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Old January 11th, 2009, 07:22 PM   #13
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Would it be safe to assume if i purchase my camera sometime next month that this focus issue you guys are talking about will be fixed by then? Or is it a luck of the draw when my camera was manufactured?
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Old January 11th, 2009, 09:27 PM   #14
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Would it be safe to assume if i purchase my camera sometime next month that this focus issue you guys are talking about will be fixed by then?
Given that the firmware update has been released in some quarters. I would wait either wait a few weeks or negotiate with the shop you are buying from to have them pick up the tab on the firmware update assuming you are doing this locally. Maybe Sony will do the firmware update for free if you buy the camera after a certain date. Do you know the phone number of your local Sony service depot for professional products?
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Old January 12th, 2009, 12:58 AM   #15
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I was told by a contact that is likely that EX3 cameras leaving the factory from mid Jan will have the updated firmware so its a question of buy now or send it in for upgrade later. Sony EX is the way to go, P2 is old technology and so expensive.
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